Sunday, May 24, 2015

California Legislative Black Caucus Scholarship Application DEADLINE is Friday, June 12, 2015

California Legislative Black Caucus Scholarship Application DEADLINE is Friday, June 12, 2015.

For more than five years, the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) California Scholars program has proudly recognized and rewarded the educational excellence and personal achievement of California college-bound high school seniors and accomplished post-secondary students enrolled in colleges and universities. The CLBC California Scholars program awards financial assistance scholarships to a select group of deserving students. College costs can be a roadblock to educational opportunities for students striving to complete their college education.
The financial scholarship assistance provided by the CLBC California Scholars program helps qualified students pay for a portion of their college costs.
Application DEADLINE is Friday, June 12, 2015.
Please submit a copy of your application to:
LaShae Collins, District Director
Assemblymember Shirley Weber
1350 Front Street, Suite 6046
San Diego, CA 92101

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Fire This Time

 The more things change, the more they remain the same. That’s the sad yet urgent message you will find in the riveting new book Firefight:The Century-Long Battle to Integrate New York’s Bravest (Palgrave Macmillan Trade, $28).  Journalist Ginger Adams Otis exhaustively examines the causes that led to the Big Apple’s 2014 settlement of a $98 million discrimination lawsuit. Cases went as far back as 1919 with the hiring of Welsey Williams. Nearly a century later, New York City has about 300 Black firefighters – roughly just three percent of the 11,000 serving a city with 2 million African-Americans. Eye-opening, this is a must read.

Review by P.H.B. in Essence, May 2015.

Black & White

Mat Johnson has rightfully earned lavish critical praise for risk-taking novels such as Pym (2011) and Incognegro (2009).  Loving Day (Spiegel & Grau, $26), a take-no-prisoners view of interracial relationships and hysteria, may at last bring Johnson to a wider readership.  In Loving Day we meet biracial Warren Duffy, who has returned to Philadelphia after his marriage to a Welsh woman unravels, his comic ship in Cardiff, Wales, goes out of business and his Irish-American father dies.  It’s hardly grist for a funny novel, but once Warren moves into what he believes is a haunted mansion, all hell breaks loose. You will marvel at the finesse with which Johnson handles this story.

Review by P.H.B. in Essence, May 2015.

The Genius of Black Women

A groundbreaking new read puts a spotlight on African-American Female intellectuals.

In 2006, 22 scholars came together to “address the lack of attention given to the work of Black women intelligentsia historically and in the contemporary moment.” Nine years later, the group’s tremendous efforts have been documented in Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women (The University of North Carolina Press, $27.95). Edited by current scholars FarahJasmine Griffin, Mai Bay, Martha S. Jones and Barbara D. Savage, An Intellectual History delivers on its grand ambition to move critical thinking “beyond the “Great Men’ paradigm” and “to promote Black women’s intellectual history as a legitimate field of academic inquiry.”

This collection of essays, which spans 320 pages, includes contributions from notable thought leaders such as Natasha Lightfoot, CorinneT. Field, Cheryl Wall, Sherie Randolph, Judith Byfield and the book’s editors.  One of the many strengths of this anthology is the non-traditional ways its authors define critical thinking. Ivy tower and self-taught philosophers are given equal billing across a number of topics, from enslavement to feminism to views of Black women’s bodies. “We believe that in taking on this important and much-neglected subject, we will help to create and sustain a community of scholars,” wrote organizers of the gathering that formed the basis of the new publication.  To that end, mission accomplished.

Review by P.H.B. in Essence, May 2015.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Four “Secret” Scholarships For Women - Millions Available in Scholarships Every Year

Applicants who seek scholarships that are virtually unknown may have a better shot at winning them than they would when applying for a popular scholarship. So, here are some little-known scholarships for women.

Executive Women International Scholarship Program <>

This scholarship is not only designed for women, but men as well. It encourages outstanding high school seniors who plan on pursuing a four-year college degree to sign up. This scholarship is based upon academics, extracurricular activities, leadership and communication skills.

Society of Women Engineers Scholarships <>

For women excited to enter the field of engineering, engineering technology and computer science, this scholarship is perfect for you. Female students applying for this scholarship must be attending an accredited school or university, as well as preparing for careers in technical fields.

Joe Francis Haircare Scholarship <>

This scholarship receives its name from the founder of many hair care franchises, Joe Francis (1933-1994). Applicants can be either male or female, but must be applying for entrance into Cosmetology School or Barber School. You must turn in your application and hand in a one-page essay and at least two letters of recommendation.

NFRW’s Betty Rendel Scholarship <>

This scholarship is open to any female attending an accredited four-year college or university. However, you must be majoring in political science, government or economics to apply.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

"How to Graduate From Starbucks" by Amanda Ripley

“When it comes to college, the central challenge for most Americans in the 21st century is not going; it’s finishing. Thirty-five million Americans now have some college experience but no degree. More Americans than live in Texas, in other words, have spent enough time at college to glimpse the promised land – but not enough to reap the financial bounty. Some are worse off than if they’d never enrolled at all, carrying tens of thousands of dollars in debt, not to mention the scar tissue of regret and self-doubt.”

“Each year, students under age 24 must gather up their parents’ tax information and fill out a 105-question form known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. (A bill that would shorten the application to two questions is awaiting action in Congress.) Those who file the form early in the year typically receive twice as much money as those who file later, but you of course have to know that bit of trivia to take advantage of it.”

“Simply put, many Americans fail to finish college, because many colleges are not designed to be finished. They are designed to enroll students, yes. They are built to garner research funds and accrue status through rankings and the scholarly articles published by faculty. But those things have little to do with making sure students leave prepared to thrive in the modern economy.”

“We know if you surround any student with love and attention and good coaching and mentorship, they will succeed,” Daniel Greenstein, who directs college-completion initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, told me. Over time, Greenstein has become more and more convinced that data-driven, student-centered university cultures can reverse the college-dropout trends. “The research tells us that what really matters for low-income and first-generation students,” he said, “is that you put your arms around them.”

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

$25K JJackson Fellows (Toyota) Scholarship - DEADLINE May 30th

The Jesse Jackson Fellows (Toyota) Scholarship is a $25,000.00 award to college students who will have sophomore status as of August 1, 2015, are in financial need, and who have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.  The scholarship is renewable for each year for a maximum three year period.   Students must also demonstrate participation in community service.  Students must major in either STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) or business. 

COMPLETED APPLICATION with all documentation must be submitted to PUSH Excel Office, 930 E. 50th Street Chicago, Illinois 60615, on or by 5PM, May 30, 2015.
Eligibility and Requirements
· Must be a U.S. citizen.
· Must be a sophomore in college by August 1, 2015.
· Must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0.
· Must be either an "stem" or a "business" major.
· Must be willing to work two Summer Co-op Terms (minimum) at a Toyota location.
· Must be open to relocation during Co-op Terms (note: housing and transportation benefits will be provided).
· Must be open to travel as a part of the Co-op Terms.
· Must be open to overtime as needed during Co-op Terms.
· Must be authorized to work in the U.S. without sponsorship; no student visas accepted.
· Must demonstrate participation in community service
· Must demonstrate academic preparation to attend college and succeed
· Must demonstrate the ability to overcome obstacles to achieve academic and personal goals
· A completed and submitted application
· Official transcript
· Two letters of recommendations (cannot include a family member)
· Proof of current enrollment in an accredited college/university in the United States (course schedule/admission letter, if applicable)
· Evidence of service learning during college enrollment.  Student must indicate any school-based extracurricular involvement and/or community-service involvement.
· Must submit minimum 500-word essay
· The required essay must address the following prompt: "Why engineering and business majors are important to industry".
· Every year up to three years on a four year graduation scale.

Additional information available at

$2,500 Cirilo McSween (NY Life) Scholarship - DEADLINE May 30th

The Cirilo McSween (New York Life) Scholarship is awarded to students who are majoring in business, achieve academic success, and play an active role in their communities. Scholarships are given in honor of New York Life's first African American agent, Cirilo A. McSween, who became an agent in 1957. Mr. McSween, who passed away in 2008, was a member of Rainbow PUSH Coalition's board of directors, a renowned civil rights activist who work closely with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and noted businessperson. The Cirilo McSween (New York Life) Scholarship is a $2,500.00, award and may be renewed for a total of 4 years. The award will be paid directly to the college or university the student will be attending.

COMPLETED APPLICATION with all documentation must be submitted to PUSH Excel Office, 930 E. 50th Street Chicago, Illinois 60615, on or by 5PM, May 30, 2015.

Eligibility and Requirements
· Must be a  U.S. citizen.
· Must be a senior attending high school and must graduate in spring or summer of 2015.  Student must be accepted to an accredited four-year degree program at a college or university in the U.S. for the academic year commencing in the year the scholarship is granted.· Must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of a 3.0.
· Must demonstrate academic preparation to attend college and succeed.· Must demonstrate the ability to overcome obstacles to achieve academic and personal goals.
· A completed and submitted application due by May 30, 2015.· Official transcript sent to PUSH by the college (this applies to new and to renewed scholarships).· Two letters of recommendations (cannot include a family member).
· Proof of current enrollment or acceptance to accredited college/university in the United States (course schedule/admission letter, if applicable).
· Evidence of service learning throughout the student's high school career (Must indicate any school-based extracurricular involvement and/or community-service involvement).
· Must submit  minimum 500-word essay.· The required essay must address the following prompt: "Identify five (5) perquisites for success and explain in detail your personal philosophy for the pursuit of excellence." Explain the obstacles or hardships you had to overcome on your journey to achieve academic success. Finally, explain how you will use your college education to achieve your personal goals and pursue excellence.
· The Cirilo McSween (New York Life) Scholarship is renewable up to 4 years as long as the student maintains a minimum grade point average of 3.0.

Additional information available at                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Sunday, May 03, 2015

We Are Not All One Family - book review

Review by Stephen Marche.  Fifteen years after publishing Bowling Alone, his seminal book about the fraying of American communities, Robert Putnam takes on the fraying of the American Dream.

                In a country racked by seemingly insurmountable political divisions, by deeper red states and darker blue states, equality of opportunity is the one thing that virtually everybody agrees on.  Ninety-five percent of Americans believe that “everyone in America should have equal opportunity to get ahead.” The huge and widening gap between the rich and the poor – and the discrepancy between their chances in life – is not a development that anyone, from the Koch brothers to Ralph Nader, desired. Nonetheless, there have been two main responses to the widening gap between rich and the poor: pretending that it doesn’t exist from the Right, and lamenting its inevitability from the Left.
                Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis (Simon & Schuster, $28), by Robert Putnam – whose masterpiece, Bowling Alone, showed how modern Americans, separated from tight-knit communities, have become isolated and less socially connected – lands squarely in the center of this mess to reframe the debates. Economic immobility is not inevitable, argues Putham. Rather, America is choosing to become a Third World county with a First World country nestled inside it.
                Putnam’s childhood home of Port Clinton, Ohio, is the lens of Our Kids. In the 1960s, Port Clinton was a mixed economy with a manufacturing base and a middle class building decent lives from the proceeds of that base. Today it’s a commuter town, a refuge for the wealthier professionals from Cleveland. “The story of Port Clinton over the last half century – like the history of America over these decades,” Putnam writes – “is not simple about the collapse of the working class, because the same years have witnessed the birth of a new upper class.” The old working class is literally and figuratively pushed to the margins of town.
                We often read the statistics in Our Kids piece-meal and sporadically, but put together they are devastating: The rich live in better houses. They have more stuff. They are more secure. The rich live and marry among the rich; the poor live and marry among the poor, creating a county of gated communities surrounded by slums. And yet, the most vital and devastating insight of Our Kids has nothing to do with wealth and material differences. What causes children to rise and fall, according to Putnam, is the most attractive aspect of American lives; the impetus to give your kids every advantage.
                All the stuff rich parents spend money on – the SAT classes, the music lessons, the extracurricular sports – they all pay off. The new upper class is far from an aristocracy; it’s a technocracy. And the first job of the new technocratic class is to ensure that their children have a place in the competitive world they have inherited. Their lives are as determined as the poor’s. The irony of the book is contained in its title: The love for “our kids” is driving the destruction of the collective possibilities of other people’s kids. And other people’s kids, no matter what Obama says, are no longer “our kids.”
                The problem that Putnam doesn’t face – here or in Bowling Alone – is the underlying reason why Americans have retreated from their sense of shared purpose. Possible solutions to income inequality are not particularly hard to find: expansion of the earned-income tax credit, increased access to early-childhood education, reduction of prison sentences for nonviolent crimes. Ideas are not lacking. What’s lacking is political and social will. America’s industrial dominance in the 20th century was the direct result of the High School movement. “The essence of that reform was a willingness of better-off Americans to pay for schools that would mainly benefit other people’s kids.”
                Putnam can explain how the High School movement worked; he can even explain how the collective spirit behind it collapsed. His explanations are incredibly useful, essential reading. But he can’t explain why Americans don’t care about one another’s children anymore. And that’s the real question, isn’t it.

Esquire magazine, April 2015.